15th january 2004

and we're here to go

Fifty years from now, what will your weblog look like? And how will it be read? On a screen, or beamed directly into the head alongside the Rotifer Channel?
Given current plans for colonization of the solar system, and because this planet is rapidly becoming unusable as a result of the selfish behaviour of the more powerful nations, I feel I may very well be based on Mars, so my banner will look something like this:

home, sweet home

I'll probably be living underground, where the temperature is low but constant. Rather similar to Saddam Hussein's spiderhole, I envisage, but with a larger number of books, thicker socks and an extra jumper; then wait for the development teams topside to produce the promised lush oasis-type environment.
And in the long winter evenings (isn't every evening one of those on Mars?), curl up and listen to the voices in your head tell of cultures and civilisations long gone. Spend time removing red grit from the statuette of Ray Bradbury in its wall-niche.

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16th january 2004

oh, henry

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17th january 2004

Nabokov on his novel Glory

Nothing much happens at the very end - just a bird perching on a wicket in the greyness of a wet day.

I was reminded of the above by this photo, which has all the simplicity and tradition of a Japanese brush painting.

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19th january 2004



1. Unpack and put the jelly fish in a dish.
2. It's edible after stirring the jelly fish in with the enclosed flavoring, Sesame Oil & Chilli Oil.
3. It will be taste better if some shredded carrot or green pepper, or cooked shredded pork is added.

This was part of dinner on New Year's Eve, and delicious though the enclosed flavouring was, the jelly fish was, alas, not edible. The texture was a strange cross between crunchy and slimy, and I could manage no more than two mouthfuls. Maybe we should have gone to DIRECTION 3 and added more stuff, though it smacks somewhat of the Stone Soup story.
A shame, because I'd never eaten a coelenterate before and was all agog to branch out into a new phylum. But I ended up rather like the minnows in Trout Fishing in America, of whom it was said, I doubt if they will ever want vanilla pudding again.

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20th january 2004


In William Mayne's The Jersey Shore, there's this passage - the inhabitants of a coastal fenland town have been disturbed by voices calling from the sea:

At night it seemed there was a light far out to sea, and the bailiff of the estate came down to the village and said a fire was to be made on the sea wall. There was a difference of opinion about this, with men going from house to house and taking one side and another, and waking and crying from being frightened all day by voices, and hearing threats by night and quarrelling. But the bailiff was firm, and wood had to be brought and a fire laid on the parish wall. By the time it was done the light at sea had begun to fade and with it there faded the voices.
The villagers stood around their fire until the mist lightened wthout thinning, and they went home through a frosted stillness. There were no more voices. By that night the mist lifted, that had hidden the distressed mortals or immortals, but there was nothing to be seen . . .
In the middle of that [next] night, in a close darkness, the man came from the sea. He walked in among the houses dragging a chain and calling out in his own words, that meant nothing to anyone there. He was naked, and his eyes glittered in the light that was brought towards him. He bowed himself down and the long chain rattled again. One end was at an ankle, another at a wrist, and from a middle link another length ran to a bolt that was driven into a wooden beam, but the beam had been burnt away, and that had been in the fire at sea.
He was locked into the church all night, under the tower, and in the morning came out trembling and jangling his chain, as naked as he went in, unashamed, strong, smiling and courteous. The priest came and tried a prayer on him in church Latin, but it was nothing to him. He had a different religion. When the sun came up over the sea wall he bowed himself to that and knelt, stretching out his arms, a shining dark man, expecting to be killed.

This brings to mind the story of the Orford merman, who might still be there as one of the wodwoses on the font, and that touching little feeler into the past, that although the people tortured him (the merman) by hanging him upside down, he still would speak no English.

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21st january 2004

baboon baboon baboon


A fine illustration of the primate behaviour known as "presenting".

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26th january 2004

only connect

Reading John Buchan's Huntingtower (he didn't say that about the Jews again did he? He did? Well, just bleep over it and get to the good stuff) I came across this passage:

The walls were of a green marble veined like malachite, the ceiling was of a darker marble inlaid with white intaglios. Scattered everywhere were tables and cabinets laden with celadon china, and carved jade, and ivories, and shimmering Persian and Rhodian vessels. In all the room there was scarcely anything of metal and no touch of gilding or bright colour. The light came from green alabaster censers, and the place swam in a cold green radiance like some cavern under the sea.

and thought, that's just like the room in A Game of Chess, and went and read A Game of Chess, and no, it wasn't just like it, only sort of. But then I noticed that Huntingtower was published in 1922, the same year as The Waste Land. So I felt that something had been achieved, I don't know what.

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Despite all evidence to the contrary, flesh is more permanent than stone. We should not contemplate stone, but for flesh.

- Marius Kociejowski

When alcohol, anchovies and shimmying street-lamps
Knock the stolid almanac cock-a-hoop.

- Louis MacNeice